58 Heron Out There The first cold day of winter, darkness near, A stiff wind coming in and a high tide Roaring inshore and everyone else inside Or heading there, what am I doing here Plugging through mushy sand, with a wind tear In either eye, up a beach three feet wide … Chased by a rush of water up the side Of the shale at the first point, I slog from there To the furthest — and the heron I know by day Is a slab of the dark rock, breaking away To pass me in the dusk. Down beach again I spot his still shape — leaf with a long stem. When I come near he flaps unhurriedly, Belongingly, into the icy spray, Then back the other way From me, this time to stay The long night undisturbed, by the loud sea. 113